IAPRI conference provides a peek into the future of packaging

Held in India for the first time, in the 52 years of IAPRI history, the conference was attended by over 114 delegates from across 14 countries. 45 presentations were delivered, whose theme was Responsible Packaging for A Better Future. Aditya Ghosalkar reports

03 Jul 2023 | By Aditya Ghosalkar

The conference hosted 12 parallel sessions, 39 oral presentations and six poster presentations revolving around the conference theme

Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, and Textiles, Government of India said, “The conference will catalyse the packaging industry growth in India.” His presence - albeit virtually - at the 31st IAPRI Member’s Conference underscores the importance of the sector.

Hosted by SIES School of Packaging/Packaging Technology Centre (SOP/PTC), the conference was held from 22 to 25 May, 2023 at Hotel Four Points by Sheraton, Navi Mumbai.

Keynote discusses innovation, sustainability, and knowledge gap

The first speech was delivered by Ramu Ramanathan, editor, PrintWeek India & WhatPackaging?, which focused on the importance of bridging the knowledge gap between research scholars and academia with the industry.

(l) Ramu R, editor, PrintWeek India & WhatPackaging? and (r) Diana S, packaging regulatory advisor, the LCA Centre

This was followed by Diana Schiffer, packaging regulatory advisor, the LCA Centre, Netherlands, who shared insights about packaging in the EU. She mentioned the scope and context of sustainable packaging practices and regulatory norms.

The third keynote lecture was delivered by Kirtiraj Gaikwad, assistant professor-packaging technology, IIT Roorkee, India. He said that flexible packaging is preferred over rigid packaging with a growth at a CAGR of 4.8% in recent years. Owing to a low carbon footprint and cost-effectiveness, flexible packaging uses less materials than rigid packaging.

(l) Kirtiraj Gaikwad, assistant professor, IIT Roorkee and (r) Ramjee Subramanian, business head, Pakka Impact

The final keynote speech was of Ramjee Subramanian, business head, Pakka Impact, Bengaluru. Subramanian offered solutions for regenerative packaging and discussed various challenges, where current recycling rate is 9%, 23 times more plastic in soils than in oceans and around five tons of carbon dioxide per ton of plastic.

Parallel sessions: packaging research

A graduate research assistant from Virginia Tech, Seth Capizzi presented his study. It stated that the ISO 8611 deflection restrictions can lead to unstable and unbound unit loads. The unbound unit loads designed using recommended ISO deflection limits showed signs of instability.

Carlos Diaz, assistant professor, Rochester Institute of Technology carried out studies on the use of biochar composites for sustainable thermal packaging applications. He identified several combinations of biochar and organic binder that provide performance comparable to EPS.

Sugarcane as a source to produce paper in Mexico was the research topic for Cristina Guzman Siller, University of Monterrey. Although the sixth largest producer of sugarcane in the world, Mexico does not have wood forests to produce paper. The study focuses on reviewing sugarcane-based paper to improve the quality over recycled paper.

Centre of exchange

The conference brought together a combination of established and emerging scholars and researchers to facilitate exchange of ideas and provide valuable insights to students.

The international visitors were given a tour of the SIES SOP/PTC’s The Activity and Research Centre, which was inaugurated on 20 May, 2023.

SIES Activity and Research Centre (SOP & IIEM)

Prasad Balan Iyer, director, SIES SOP/PTC said, “The centre will enable connections between training sites with industry requirements. It shall house several external training programs including material consumption, lowering the carbon footprint.

Session overview

The four-day event revolved around trends in packaging such as active and intelligent packaging; distribution packaging; logistics and supply chain; packaging for food and agriculture.

There were important discussions on industrial topics too. These included packaging for hazardous and dangerous goods; packaging machinery and systems; packaging materials; novel packaging and packaging sustainability.

Prasad Balan Iyer informed WhatPackaging? magazine that “Given the topics covered, the IAPRI conference was successful and topics resonated with the theme of Responsible Packaging for a Better Future. Not only industry stalwarts but research students benefited from this program.”

Latest Poll

Which is the sustainable packaging product among MSMEs that is most popular?


Which is the sustainable packaging product among MSMEs that is most popular?

Bagasse and biodegradable boxes



Corrugated boxes



Paper bags



Recyclable plastic (bubble wraps, bio-plastic)



Total Votes : 25